We left beautiful New Zealand behind and made our way to Australia. We basically spent the entire day flying and relaxing at the airport. We had a connection in Sydney with a gap of about 8 hours, this time without getting to stay in the first class lounge as we were not flying on the oneWorld alliance but flying Virgin Blue, Australia’s discount airliner. Slumming it with the normal people was awful…we had to pay for our own food and drink, sit at a noisy gate in uncomfortable chairs with no internet. Finally we made our way to Hobart in Tasmania.
The next morning, we rented a car to make our way around Tasmania. After traversing our way through the winding roads and stopping at every exotic fauna crossing sign for Jill to take a picture, we made it to our first stop, Port Arthur. Port Arthur reminded us of Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village at first with its 19th century cityscape. However, Port Arthur is actually real. In fact, its initial use was a convict colony, where Great Britain sent its felons. They were sentenced to “transportation”. Basically, the convicts were slaves in Port Arthur as they supplied the labor of what became an export colony of manufactured items such as shoes and boats and of raw materials such as lumber. Some of these convicts had ridiculous sentences for the crimes they committed; one in particular was “7 years transportation for stealing £2 of merchandise”. On the downside of Port Arthur, it hasn’t aged very well, many of the buildings have lost their roofs and many of the buildings’ brick structure was dismantled for building materials in Hobart. All in all it was fairly interesting.
Next stop, Cole’s Bay. There is a national park here with a bushwalk that leads you to the gorgeous Wineglass Bay. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, the bane of our existence, we were unable to make the trek. However, on the plus side, we got to stay in this “caravan”, which was a camper straight out of the 60s with its florescent blue upholstered seats and matching tables, and a change of pace from the normal hostels we have been living.
On that note, we made our way back to Hobart for a few days and stayed in the most despicable hostel we have stayed at in our lifetimes, which by now has totaled about 50 or so. Lonely Planet claims that this hostel was “clean and quiet”. On the contrary, the health department would have a field day with the kitchen. The pots were disgusting, there were no scrubbers to clean them, and one of them had a fork for a handle. The microwave was an ecosystem. The bathrooms had no toilet paper. The dining tables had a plastic liner that was probably 5 years old and had mold growing all over it. The shower curtains hadn’t been cleaned in what seemed to be its entire existence. The group of tourists was obnoxious until all hours of the night. The other people in our room were rude, lascivious, outrageous. We planned to get back at our roommates when we left for our early flight at 4AM, but to our surprise, they woke us up at 4AM when they came home.
Hobart is a fairly big city, about 200,000 people, or half the population of Tasmania. It seemed so strange to us that everything in Hobart stops at 5PM every day, and often with shorter hours on the weekends. Shops, restaurants, Starbucks all closed. The only thing that was open late was Target on Friday night. We just can’t understand for the life of us how shops and what not can stay in business if they’re only open during normal working hours, when do most people get to shop?
Anyway, we’re off to Melbourne, Australia now where we will drive our way to Sydney.